Pattern Play

For many of us, one of the most fun parts of interior decorating is fabric selection. But it can also be a confusing part, especially when you’re first starting out and have all these different patterns, colors and textures to choose from. Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about fabric and ways to successfully mix them. Like a PRO, that is.

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 Kathryn M. Ireland

There are of course different ways to go about it, with our personal aesthetics playing an important role and, if you ask around, every interior designer will give you a slightly different answer. But one thing that repeats itself is a so-called ¨formula¨ for mixing patterns. Leaving color and texture aside, there are certain things that match well together. Others, not so much. Like a large floral + small floral + one or two small geometrics + solids  is a good combination while two or more large florals + two or more large geometrics can be tricky.

Design Café | Pattern Play

{ a very fun combination of patterns: large floral (roman shade +headboard) /

small geometric (polka dots wallpaper) /  solid (night table) }

One thing to keep in mind is that when decorating a space, pattern comes into play in many ways, from wallpaper and artwork to carpeting or flooring.

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Tom Scheerer

If too much pattern in your décor scares you, you can choose a minimalistic approach. Start with a combination of solids + one floral or solids + one geometric and work your way up from there.

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Phoebe Howard

When combining patterns, SCALE is another important factor to consider. Complementing a larger print with a smaller one works really well, while mixing several larger scale patterns can be tricky to pull off and require some serious skill. However, if you’re really set on using larger scale prints, a good idea is to separate them with neutrals and / or solids to give your eyes a place to rest. 

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Peter Dunham

Now that we know which patterns work well together, an equally important thing to consider is PROPORTION. You CAN  have too much of a good thing so a good rule of thumb is 60/30/10 or 40/ 30/ 20/ 10 or anywhere close.

pattern play

{ large floral / small geometric (stripes) / small geometric (on the chair) }

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{ large floral (wallpaper)  / small floral (carpet) / small geometric (bolster pillows)  / solid (pillows) }

Once you choose your dominant patterns, remember that, while there may be rules, decorating should be fun and personal 🙂 Happy decorating!